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Encyclopedia > Orville L. Freeman
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Orville Freeman

Orville Lothrop Freeman (May 9, 1918 - February 20, 2003) was an American Democratic politician who served as the 29th Governor of Minnesota from January 5, 1955 to January 2, 1961 and as the US Secretary of Agriculture from 1961-1969.


Freeman was a 1940 graduate of the University of Minnesota, where he met his life-long friend and political ally, Hubert H. Humphrey.

Preceded by:
Clyde Elmer Anderson
Governors of Minnesota Succeeded by:
Elmer Lee Andersen
Preceded by:
Ezra Taft Benson
Secretary of Agriculture Succeeded by:
Clifford M. Hardin

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Freeman was all for helping developing countries improve their diets but he favored federal endeavors that would improve profitable markets for American farmers while encouraging farmers in much less developed areas of the world to seek commercial farming viability.
Freeman’s worst period was when a high-flying Texas entrepreneur, Billy Sol Estes, manipulated federal farm programs and fleeced taxpayers by cornering a segment of the farm chemicals market, largely, it was later demonstrated, through connivance with some USDA career bureaucrats, out to make a proverbial “killing” in the marketplace.
Orville Freeman will never be remembered as an “outstanding” secretary of agriculture but he was considerably more admirable and enduring than many and, indeed, a very capable and thoroughly estimable executive in every post in which he served in both politics and business.
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